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- Warlock o' Glenwarlock - 70/98 -


"Here's auld Belzebub at last!'gaein to an' fro i' the earth, an' walkin' up an' doon intil 't!" she said to herself. "Noo's for me to priv the trowth 'o Scriptur! Whether he'll flee or no, we'll see: I s' resist him. It's no me 'at'll rin, ony gait!"

His lordship had been standing by his lodge on the outlook, and when he saw Grizzie approaching, had started to encounter her. As she drew near he stopped, and stood in the path motionless. On she came till within a single pace of him. He did not move. She stopped.

"I doobt, my lord," she said, "I'll hae to mak the ro'd a bit wider. There's hardly room for yer lordship an' anither. But I'm gettin' on fine!"

"Is the woman an idiot!" exclaimed his lordship.

"Muckle siclike 's yersel', my lord!" answered Grizzie;--"no that muckle wit but I might hae mair, to guide my steps throuw the wilderness ye wad mak o' no an ill warl'."

"Are you aware, woman, that you have made yourself liable to a heavy fine for trespass? This field is mine!"

"An' this fitpath's mine, my lord--made wi' my ain feet, an' I coonsel ye to stan' aside, an' lat me by."

"Woman, you are insolent."

"Troth, I needna yer lordship to tell me that! Nane the less ae auld wife may say 'at she likes til anither."

"I tell you there is no thoroughfare here."

"An' I tell you there IS a thoroughfare, an' ye hae but to wull the trowth to ken 'at there is. There was a ro'd here lang or yer lordship's father was merried upo' yer lordship's mither, an' the law--what o' 't yer lordship hasna the makin' o'--is deid agen ye: that I can priv. Hae me up: I can tak my aith as weel's onybody whan I'm sure."

"I will do so; but in the meantime you must get off my property."

"Weel, stan' by, an' I s' be aff o' 't in less time nor yer lordship."

"You must go back."

"Hooly an' fairly! Bide till the gloamin', an' I s' gang back--never fear. I' the mids o' the meantime I'm gaein' aff o' yer property the nearest gait--an' that's straucht efter my nose."

She tried, for the tenth time or so, to pass, but turn as she might, he confronted her. She persevered. He raised the stick he carried, perhaps involuntarily, perhaps thinking to intimidate her. Then was the air rent with such an outcry of assault as grievously shook the nerves of his lordship.

"Hold your tongue, you howling jade!" he cried--and the epithet sufficed to destroy every possible remnant of forbearance in the mind of Grizzle.

"There's them 'at tells me, my lord," she said with sudden calm, "'at that's hoo ye misca'd Annie Fyfe, puir lass, whan she cam efter ye, fifty year ago, to yer father's hoose, an' gat na a plack to haud her an' her bairn frae the roadside! Ye needna girn like that, my lord! Spare yer auld teeth for the gnashin' they'll HAE to du. --Though ye fear na God nor regaird man, yer hoor 'll come, an' yer no like to bid it walcome."

Beside himself with rage, Lord Lick-my-loof would have laid hold of her, but she uttered a louder cry than before--so loud that James Grade's deaf colley heard her, and, having a great sense of justice, more courage than teeth, and as little regard to the law of trespass as Grizzie herself, came, not bounding, but tearing over the land to her rescue, as if a fox were at one of his sheep. He made straight for his lordship.

Now this dog was one of the chief offences of the cottage, for he had the moral instinct to know and hate a bad man, and could not abide Lord Lick-my-loof. He had never attacked him, for the colley cultivated self-restraint, but he had made his lordship aware that there was no friendship in his heart towards him.

Silent almost as swift, he was nearly on the enemy before either he or Grizzle saw him. His lordship staggered from the path, and raised his stick with trembling hand.

"Boon wi' ye! doon, Covenant! doon, ye tyke!" cried Grizzie. "Haud yer teeth gien ye wad keep the feow ye hae! Deil a bite but banes is there i' the breeks o' 'im!"

The dog had obeyed, and now stood worshipping her with his tail, while with his eyes he watched the enemy and his stick.

"Hark ye, Covenant," she went on, "whan his sowl he selled him, the deevil telled him,'at never mair sud he turn a hair at cry or moanin' in highway or loanin', for greitin' or sweirin' or grane o' despair. Haud frae him, Covenant, my fine fallow, haud frae him."

Grizzie talked to the dog nor lifted her eyes. When she looked up, Lord Lick-my-loof was beyond the hollow, hurrying as if to fetch help. In a few minutes she was safe in the cottage, out of breath, but in high spirits; and even the dying woman laughed at her tale of how she had served his lordship.

"But ye ken, Grizzie," suggested Jeames, "we're no to return evil for evil, nor flytin' for flytin'!"

"Ca' ye that flytin'?" cried Grizzie. "Ye sud hear what I didna say! That was flytin'! We'll be tried by what we can do, no by what we canna! An' for returnin' evil, did I no haud the dog frae the deithshanks o' 'im?"

The laird and Cosmo had spent as usual a quiet and happy Sunday. It was now halfway down the gloamin' towards night, and they sat together in the drawing-room, the laird on the sofa, and Cosmo at one of the windows. The sky was a cold clear calm of thin blue and translucent green, with a certain stillness which in my mind will more or less for ever be associated with a Scotch Sunday. A long low cloud of dark purple hung like a baldachin over the yet glimmering coals on the altar of sunset, and the sky above it was like a pale molten mass of jewels that had run together with heat, and was still too bright for the stars to show. They were both looking out at the sky, and a peace as of the unbeginnings of eternity was sinking into their hearts. The laird's thoughts were with his Marion in the region beyond the dream; Cosmo's with Joan in the dream that had vanished into itself. If love be religion, what matter whether its object be in heaven or on the earth! Love itself is the only true nearness. He who thinks of his Saviour as far away can have made little progress in the need of him; and he who does not need much cannot know much, any more than he who is not forgiven much can love much. They sat silent, their souls belonging rather to the heaven over their heads than the earth under their feet, when suddenly the world of stillness was invaded with hideous discord, above which almost immediately rose the well known voice of Grizzie in fierce opposition. They rushed out. Overthe gate and obstructing wall they descried, indistinct in the dull light, several heads, and hurrying thither, found Grizzie in the grasp of Lord Lick-my-loof's bailiff, and his lordship looking on with his hands in his pockets and the smile that was his own. But it was not for her own sake Grizzie cried out: there were two more in the group--two of the dog-kind, worrying each other with all the fierceness of the devotion which renders a master's quarrel more than the dog's own. They were, however, far from equally matched, and that was the cause of Grizzie's cry; for the one was the somewhat ancient colley named Covenant, whose teeth were not what they had been, and the other a mastiff belonging to Lord Lick-my-loof, young and malevolent, loosed from the chain the first time that night for a month. It looked ill for Covenant, but he was a brave dog, incapable of turning his back on death itself when duty called him, and what more is required of dog or man! Both the dogs were well bred each in its kind; Covenant was the more human, Dander the more devilish; and the battle was fierce.

The moment Cosmo descried who the combatants were, he knew that Covenant had no fair chance, and was over the wall, and had thrown himself upon them to part them; whereupon the bailiff, knowing his master desired the death of Covenant, let Grizzie go, and would have rushed upon Cosmo. But it was Grizzie's turn now, and she clung to the bailiff like an anaconda. He cursed and swore; nor were there lacking on Grizzie's body the next day certain bruises of which she said nothing except to Aggie; but she had got hold of his cravat, and did her best to throttle him. Cosmo did the same for the mastiff with less effect, and had to stun him with a blow on the head from a great stone, when he caught up Covenant in his arms, and handed him over the wall and the gate to his father. The same moment the bailiff got away from Grizzie, and made at him, calling to the mastiff. But the dog, only half recovered from the effects of Cosmo's blow, either mistaking through bewilderment, or moved by some influence ill explicable, instead of attacking Cosmo, rushed at his master. Rage recalls dislike, and it may be he remembered bygone irritations and teasings. His lordship, however, suddenly became aware of his treacherous intent, and in a moment his legs had SAVED THEMSELVES over wall, and gate, and he stood panting and shaking beside the laird, in his turn the trespasser. The dog would have been over after him, had not Cosmo, turning his back on the bailiff, who had not observed his master's danger, knocked the dog, in the act of leaping, once more to the earth, when a rush of stones that came with him, and partly fell upon him, had its share in cowing him.

"Haud him! haud him! haud the deevil, ye brute! Haud the brute, ye deevil!" cried his lordship.

"It's yer ain dog, my lord," said the bailiff, whatever consolation there might be in the assurance, as he took him by the collar.

"Am I to be worriet 'cause the dog's my ain? Haud him the sickerer. He s' be ayont mischeef the morn!"

"He's the true dog 'at sides wi' the richt; he'll be in bliss afore his maister," said Grizzie, as she descended from the gate, and stood on her own side of the fence.

But the laird was welcoming his lordship with the heartiness of one receiving an unexpected favour in the visit.

"Weel loupen, my lord!" he said. "Come in an' rist yersel' a bit,


Warlock o' Glenwarlock - 70/98

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